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On the reciprocal relationship between individual job insecurity and job insecurity climate

Lena Låstad (Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)
Tinne Vander Elst (Department of Work, Organisational and Personnel Psychology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium AND External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work, IDEWE, Leuven, Belgium)
Hans De Witte (Department of Work, Organisational and Personnel Psychology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium AND Optentia Research Programme, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 13 June 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between individual job insecurity and job insecurity climate over time.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected among readers of a Flemish Human Resources magazine. The data collection was repeated three times, resulting in a longitudinal dataset with information from 419 employees working in Flanders. A cross-lagged design was used in which both individual job insecurity and job insecurity climate were modeled at all times and reciprocal relationships between these constructs could be investigated.

Findings

The results showed that perceptions of individual job insecurity were related to perceiving a climate of job insecurity six months later. However, no evidence was found for the effect of job insecurity climate on individual job insecurity. This suggests that job insecurity origins in the individual’s perceptions of job insecurity and subsequently expands to include perceptions of a job insecurity climate at the workplace.

Research limitations/implications

First, the data used in this study were collected solely by self-reports, which could have introduced a common method bias to the study. Second, as with all non-experimental studies, the possibility that a third variable could have affected the results cannot categorically be ruled out.

Practical implications

Managers and human resource practitioners who wish to prevent job insecurity in organizations may consider focussing on individual job insecurity perceptions when planning preventive efforts.

Originality/value

By investigating the relationship between individual job insecurity and job insecurity climate over time, this study contributes to the understanding of job insecurity, both as an individual and a social phenomenon.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Lena Låstad was supported by Stockholm Stress Center (SSC). SSC is a center of excellence for research on work-related stress and health supported by FORTE, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Grant No. 2009-1758). Låstad was also granted a stipend from the Hedberg Foundation for a research stay at the KU Leuven.

Citation

Låstad, L., Vander Elst, T. and De Witte, H. (2016), "On the reciprocal relationship between individual job insecurity and job insecurity climate", Career Development International, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 246-261. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-03-2015-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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